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Cervical fusion issues

Hi.. I'm looking for some help. In 2007, I had disc herniation in my neck. I was in extreme pain, I was admitted to the hospital and operated on the next day. I had no time for any decisions. The neurosurgeon claimed it had to be done. He fused C5 and C 6. I healed fairly well, and returned to work. My work is extremely physical . It requires lifting, esp.. over my head. 2 years later, start having pain again. They send me to a pain clinic, I receive nerve blocks and cortisone shots. They advise me I have degenerative discs. I continue to suffer along at work, I never miss a day.

However, my nights become a torment, I average 3 hours sleep, the pain and numbness is unreal. I go back to the same neurosurgeon, he informs me, I have herniated 2 more disc. I am now 3 weeks post op. The pain and numbness prior surgery was in my right arm. I know have stabbing pain my my left shoulder, it radiates down almost to my elbow. I get a weird feeling like bugs crawling on my arm, but no, bugs? I also have a stingy feeling, like a bee sting? My arm is itchy? My arm arm is fine, weak of course, but fine.

I had a graft, we used my own bone. My hip Is healing slower. He took bone from the same hip as last time. It does seem much harder to walk, I am however 49, maybe my advanced age? This surgery fused C 3 and C4.
I was reviewing the MRI findings from 2007, it claims i have disc protrusions at C2, C3, C,3&C4,C4&5,C6-C7. I can get no real answers from my neurosurgeon . He is hard to understand. My question is... Can I return to my job, a job I've done for ten years, or should I look for work elsewhere? Is this why my disc continue to herniate? Will my other disc give out also? Has anyone ever had itching, bee stinging pain in an extremity after a fusion? Sorry for the rant.... Thanks


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I am sorry to hear that you have more issues after the surgery. This is only my opinion and you should always seek professional medical advice. If you have spine issues, you should ask your doctor if all the lifting might be causing all your issues in your neck. Have you sought any conservative treatments to help with your pain? Also, I would see a chiropractor to assess your spinal alignment. If you are limping from the hip pain, it can cause your gait to change and give you pain elsewhere. Always seek every possible cause of your pain before surgery. I wish I did not have surgery now that I know my cause of pain was due to a short leg and pelvis instability. Good luck and keep getting different professional opinions and try alternative treatments such as physical therapy, acupuncture, etc.
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches

  • In answer to your question of whether anyone else has had itching and bee stinging pain after a fusion, yes! I also get the bugs crawling feeling.

    I have only had one neck fusion surgery, but two levels were fused - C3/4 and C4/5.
    I know that all the levels below these are very degenerated and my neurosurgeon has said that the discs are gone and I am either already, or nearly, autofused.

    Before my surgery I was told that I must be very careful because I had cord compression. I asked if the danger was if I got hit on the head and my neurosurgeon said that but also if I had a strong pull or push on my arms. After neck surgeries we are told not to lift too much weight of to lift our arms above our heads. This is because our nerves and the muscles that they feed in our arms originate in our neck.

    If your work is physical and involves lifting weights especially over your head, then I think if I was you I would look into getting another job. Would your work be able to give you different work other than this lifting? As for if you can return to your job, you will have to talk to your surgeon about this. Ask him about your fusions putting more pressure on other levels and Adjacent Disc Syndrome. He is in the best position to know how likely that will be for you as he knows the condition of your neck and how likely it will be to be able to cope with a physical job.

    Personally I don't think I would want to risk it.
    I look forward to getting to know you better. :-)

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